It hasn’t always been common knowledge that toddlers and preschoolers are capable of successfully performing tasks to help keep the house clean. But now, as a society, we are finally catching up a bit more with wonderful teaching methods like The Montessori Method, and we are starting to help our children get on the right path to independence. Preschoolers and even toddlers are capable of performing small tasks, be it picking their blocks up or wiping the table.
Messes are part of childhood and that is ok, but we also need to clean them up. In our home, this was becoming a bit of an issue, so I am sharing with you this post with an easy way to keep a preschooler’s room clean. As a bonus, this post comes with a FREE printable of the chart! Read on to find out what we did.
Whether you are a laissez-faire kind of mom (see first picture below) or the kind of mom who likes an immaculate home 24/7 (see second picture below), we all have a desire to see our children grow up with respect for themselves and the environment around them. This includes taking care of themselves (hygienic) and their homes (sanitary).
So, without further ado, this is what we did in our home, and this strategy worked for us to keep our preschooler’s room-cleaning experience a whole lot easier for everyone involved. I hope it works with your preschoolers as well.
This is our original, hastily made list. My son can read, so he didn’t need pictures to go along with each item listed. He is, however, a visual learner and a “list person,” so this worked very well for him. I knew, though, that I eventually wanted to make something nicer and more permanent for him. At the same time, I wanted to be able to alter it as he grows and is capable of doing more.
Ta da! This is the chart I made. Granted, it isn’t amazing or special or anything in-between, but it is definitely a lot nicer than our original list. And now my 2.5-year old toddler can understand it and begin to help her brother a bit more because I left enough room in each rectangle to include the words AND the pictures. You can get the FREE printable of this chart at the bottom of this post.
What you need:
~ Printer (black and white is fine, but color is preferred)
~ Sharpie markers (all colors or black will be fine)
~ Double-sided tape (the foamy kind so it doesn’t damage the wall paint)
~ A preschooler 🙂
1. Print the chart.
2. Laminate the chart.
3. Fill it out. Note: I liked using the matching Sharpie color as the rectangles and arrows, but you can easily use black in all.
4. Put it up in his/her room (at eye level).
5. Explain it to him/her so he/she knows how it works and what to do.
Now that the chart is ready for use, go to your preschooler’s room and look around. What is the number one priority to clean? Stinky clothes? Write that down first. Or maybe you want to start off with the easiest thing to clean–like books. Regardless, I suggest that you use the first column to BOTH write down the word (“books, “shoes,” “toys,”etc.) and the picture form of that word. In the second column, you will write AND draw the place where those things go. Books go in the bookshelf, toys go in the bin or chest, etc.
This is what ours looks like. Lovely. Practical. Fun. It brings results! And I think that is the most important thing. Another awesome feature about this chart is that, since it is laminated, when your priorities change or a particular item isn’t a problem any more, you can always use a little bit of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to clean it off and start over again.
Next, it is time to put it up in his/her room. Find a spot in the bedroom where it is at the child’s eye-level. Use four squares of double-sided tape (the foamy kind like in the picture below) on every back corner of the chart and press hard against the wall.
A very, very important step that we must never forget is to actually sit with your child in front of the chart and explain to him/her how it works and what he/she is expected to do. The first time you try it out, be there for your child so you can coach him/her on how it works and when it is time to move on to the next item on the list.
Now, whenever it is time to clean his room, I tell my son to follow the chart. This has made our cleaning experience a whole lot easier. He shares his room with a toddler right now, so I have her observe him to learn from him as he picks up, and she pitches in whenever she can (when it is age-appropriate for her). Their room looks a lot better now that we have the chart, and there is less nagging and less of the typical, “I don’t know where to start!” excuse.
Speaking of toddlers, here is some more humor for you to enjoy:
Download the I can clean my room all by myself chart here.
Here are two links for other relevant chore-related activities:
I hope you enjoy making this chart for your toddlers and preschoolers. If you aren’t sure if it’ll work for your child or not, then I suggest you do what I did and make a handwritten list to use for a few days. But download this chart first, just in case you do want to use it. I wish your home many-a-clean toddler and preschooler rooms!
What chores do your young children have to do around the house? Please share the ages of your children and the jobs they do!
Note from the Hip Homeschool Moms:
We know that different things work for different families. Some children (especially older children) may not be motivated by chore charts, or chore charts may not work for your family for some other reason. If chore charts don’t work for your family, you might want to read this article called “I Kissed Chore Charts Goodbye.”